The flames have leapt from point to point
first our eyes
then our ears,
into our hearts
into our spleens,
our insides

We fight each other.
Fear blinds us.

Put the fires out.
They have burned for eight years.

Let the great healing begin.

He is here
to visit his dying grandmother.
She lives in an apartment
building a few blocks away
from where we live,
and where he spent his childhood,
walking to and from school
or his part-time job, scooping ice cream.

Early in the morning
while on our daily walk in the hush,
we go past the building and vow–
should we but glimpse his sorrow–
to run away
and release him to his privacy.

No one's around.
The TV vans that cover every moment
of his life sit quietly in the church
parking lot across the street.
We walk back home
and on the way,
stop beneath an opiuma tree
that sheds its petals in the coming light
to the shine of tears.

On November 4, 2008,
a man, unlike predecessors before him,
walks to a podium in Chicago
to address a nation
with his acceptance speech.

In a shine of tears, some remember:
falling stock market
housing market
credit crisis

The President-elect walks on stage
with his wife and two daughters.

There’s a lot to accomplish
as Barack Obama and his family
prepare to move into the White House.

—Ann Inoshita

I imagine you would take us with you,
perhaps rolled up in a Persian rug
or tucked in hidden pockets of your luggage
carrying white shirts, socks, and underwear.

There is no need to take us out
right away, no need to show us around.
Forget about us as you do your spine or spleen.

But when old chains begin to rattle
in your mind, or on the lips of suits
lining red carpeted hallways
that no longer seem new to you

we will be there; trade winds twisting
down the Ko'olau, fragrant fallen mangos,
nests of salt. Let us offer you respite, let us
be a toe hold in the craggy wall you climb
treading a new path to a new country.

Let us remind you of when hope
was measured in pocket change
after a long day of body surfing-
just enough for shaved ice and the bus ride home.

–Christy Passion

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